A car wars campaign is being drawn up in a dramatic move to win a bigger share of the UK premium sector for Mercedes-Benz.
Still being formulated but due to be in operation before the end of the year, the showroom action plan will be aimed at prising lucrative corporate business away from BMW and Audi, Fleet News can reveal.
“It is embryonic at the moment, but I’ve asked our fleet team to come up with fresh ideas and contributions.
“Even though strong residual values are allowing us to offer a lot of finance-based products at the moment, it is obvious that we have what I would describe as an opportunity for expansion in the corporate sector around the contract hire and lease and local business areas in particular,” said Mercedes-Benz UK chief Gary Savage.
The move comes only 10 weeks after the former Citroen UK executive took over as managing director of the German company’s British operations.
“I see this brand as the real deal. It has a long and rich heritage in the industry and is widely recognised for its authentic product. But even though our vehicles are ideally suited to the corporate sector, our most immediate competitors are outperforming us and it’s obvious that we need incremental share.
“In the past, our approach to the fleet market has been almost schizophrenic – we’ve been in it and then not in it and we’ve never been there with a degree of focus,” he said.
In an interview at the Paris Motor Show, he added: “I think our approach needs more finesse to make us easier to deal with. We should be more consistent and more supportive of a dealer network that has real enthusiasm and an appetite for the segment.
“Currently, our sales are 65% in favour of retail and while we should celebrate this strength, we can grow our share of the fleet market in a sensible fashion. How we manage that will fit into the overall plan regarding our ambitions over the next few years, but we can be more active than we are at present.”
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